Bro. Ian Granada
Can you teach the heart to love? This is an interesting question that I am musing in our readings this Sunday. The command of Jesus to love one’s enemies sometimes come to me as an understatement because I am a Christian and I am supposed to live out that maxim. However, at the end of the day, I found myself lacking, because it was really hard to forgive those who hurt me, more so, if those who hurt me are my loved ones.
In the First Reading, we heard the beautiful story of David’s respect for King Saul. He had the chance to kill Saul with all the valid reasons behind it. He chose otherwise. He saw that it is not good to kill somebody whom the Lord appointed and chosen. Saul was the rightful King of Israel, chosen by God to lead Israel. His respect for God’s anointed was evident and it was a respect not because of the King but of the God who anointed Saul.
In the Gospel, as part of the Sermon on the plain, Jesus teaches the people that if they choose to follow him, they need to love like him. As followers of Jesus, we cannot live a love that is always reciprocated like those of in a loan or exchange. Our love knows no limits, because it is of God, and with God there is no impossible.
We love because God loved us first (1 Jn. 4, 19). This love knows no boundaries and extends beyond one’s kin and friends. The Gospel this Sunday exhorts us to be generous without limit and expecting nothing in return of loving our enemies.
It is interesting to know also that Jesus’ teaching on loving one’s enemies is not based on any Old Testament passage. We can say therefore, that it is really coming from Jesus himself who as Son of the Father, teaches us what God wants us to do and to be. Jesus only shows how great the love of the Father that this love too is bestowed upon us.
Truly, to forgive is not easy. It is more difficult to forgive when the one who hurt us is a loved one and close to our hearts. The Good News we hear today is that, sin will not triumph. The letter of St. Peter reminds us, “Above all, maintain constant love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins.” (1 Pt. 4, 8) This love is not mere human invention or tradition but it is a love that is born from above, for God is Love. “Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.” (1 Jn. 4, 7) When we forgive those who hurt us, we learn to love them again. We give chance for love to triumph and re-connect ourselves to the broken relationships we had before. Yes, some sins are great and deep, but there is no deeper and great than love, as St. Paul tells us, “the greatest of them all is LOVE.” (1 Cor. 13, 13)
Let us pray to the Father and beg the grace of LOVE. May the Spirit of Jesus, who is LOVE of the Father and Son, permeate us and make us capable to love again, Amen.